tv Real Money With Ali Velshi Al Jazeera December 11, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm EST
our time for this news hour, if you would like the latest we invite you to head on over to our website, aljazeera.com, real money is next with david schuster in tonight for ali valshi. ♪ midnight dark and dreary in washington, d.c., the deadline for a government funding bill is approaching, and the congressional effort to get any kind of deal approved has been a mess. we will break down the key sticking points and show you what is at stake. also the cia didn't do all of the dirty work, sometimes taxpayer work was used to pay others to do it. plus america's new coral war
with russia. vladimir putin is trying to make a new friend, and it may catch american businesses by surprise. i'm david shuster in for ali velshi, and this is "real money." ♪ just hours before the federal government runs out of money, a preliminary spending deal has proven to be just that, preliminary. john boehner pulled the bill from the floor after he realized he didn't have the votes to get the bill approved. democrats bolted over controversial items known as riders that had nothing to do with government spending. congress could still approve a temporary stop-develop measure, but even that agreement is not guaranteed. months of negotiations may go
out of the window. the office of management and budget began briefing on the protocols for government shutdown starting at midnight. the biggest item that riled up the republicans was the big b k banks. congress passed the dodd-frank law in 2010 to protect from future shocks and the bailout of americas banks. but the bill would have undone a provision in that law requiring big banking to separate derivatives. it would have late banks trade swaps. some say the change would leave tax payers on the hook.
thor issue was a tenfold increase in what political donors can give to political parties. that money can be used to fund party conventions, buildings and election recounts. the government funding bill would have raised the cap to a whopping 324,000 per individual. there was a lot of stuff inserted that had nothing to do with federal spending, and in this case so far it hasn't helped. libby casey has the latest from capitol hill. >> we worked through this process in a bipartisan way, and i do expect it to pass, but if we don't get finished today, we'll be here until christmas. >> reporter: it even won backing from the white house, it includes funds to fight ebola and the group known as isil and
a small raise for the members of the military. >> the president supports this proposal and would sign it. >> reporter: but the devil is in the details and as members dug into the specifics, they found plenty of reasons to fight it. >> so here we are in the house being blackmailed, being blackmailed to vote for an an appropriations bill. >> reporter: house democrats upset over provisions to raise campaign contribution limits by big donors, reducing pension plans for retirees, and roll back provisions of the dodd-frank financial reform giving bank ks more freedom to hedge their risks. >> this is about reckless behavior, and a give away to the largest financial institutions in this country, and it's up to
us to say no. >> reporter: some conservatives say this green lights too many priorities such as obamacare. >> reporter: -- >> we need to be able to hold funding back. >> reporter: in february, the g.o.p. will control both bodies of congress and will have more leverage to fight the president. >> at this hour, it appears that the republican house is still about 40 democratic votes short of having the votes to pass this. in other words the president at this hour is trying to twist arms of members of his own party in order to get them to support this. for more on congress and the prospect of another government shutdown is michael shure joining us. a battle between nancy pelosi and the president of her own
party. what do you make of it? >> yeah, barack obama against nancy pelosi, against senator warren and maxine waters. the president has done the lobbies and the vice president, and his chief of staff went up to the hill to try to lobby this bill. it's a really unusual set of circumstances we're seeing right now. and there are some options for this to go forward. there is a double continuing resolution, they could put one together to fund the government for the next few days while they work out the detains of the continuing resolution. so it's not exactly what the leadership wanted and they are trying to wrangle to see who is going to take the blame as well. >> maxine waters from california came out and told reporters that she was unhappy with the white house lobbying, that she was uncomfortable with that kind of pressure. when it's her own president that
she is uncomfortable with, isn't that embare racing for the white house? >> i would say it is. a lot of democrats woke up astonished that the white house said it would sign the bill. because all of these things are a real problem for democrats, so it took away any chance of bargaining this bill down did they have it at all, so it's not good for the white house to have these people against them right now. >> and as far as campaign finance changing, if in fact the cap is lifted from 32,000 to 320,000, what does that do to the system? >> well, listen, a lot of people are saying that these moneys are not necessarily to go into the pockets of candidates and campaigns. it's more to the structure of the national party. you know, this is what we expected in 2010 when we got the supreme court involved in this
case with citizens united. these are the types of things that can happen, there is no limit to it. so i think it's going to poison the well for a lot of people and also make it very difficult for people to run for office, and that is something that people have started talking about today for the very first time. i heard that on the house floor today, that you are not going to bet the best and brighter, because they may not be able to get access to that kind of money. >> given that view from some democrats on the house floor and their desire to have that aspect changes and the dodd-frank provision reversed back, does it make sense for the democrats to continue to hold out, and they look, we are not going to pass this unless you strip it out. who blinks first? >> yeah, that's the game, it's pelosi or boehner. the republicans don't want to begin 2015 talking about
extending the budget. they have a whole agenda that they feel they were sent to washington to accomplish in november, so this really sets that back. there will be no regular order in the house or senate when they get back. on the other side, the democrats, this is their last gasp. they don't have a lot of muscle in the senate after this, and their numbers have dwen dwengd -- dwindled in the house. to john boehner i imagine would blink first. >> and sthen nate democrats down to candidates for at least until the beginning of january, you can got to imagine that harry reid is saying go for it house democrats because it makes his house easier if the democrats are able to get some things pulled out of this bill. >> yeah, that's a really important factor, and the senate sort of says above the fray.
but, yeah, i think you are right, harry reid wants to see this drag out more, because they know come 2015 they are not going to be able to exact very much out of the republicans. >> michael thanks as always, we appreciate it. just ahead on "real money," the head of the cia strikes back. you'll hear how he defended the agency, and what world he refused to use. and how the cia managed to spend hundreds of millions of your taxpayer dollars on the enhanced interrogation program. and why this is looking for a very merry and green christmas for the men and women who sell christmas trees. we'll bring you the latest as the clock ticks towards another government shutdown. ♪
senate intelligence report, and said people subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided rare intelligence. john brennan refused to call the techniques forth -- torture, but he said some cia officers used abhorrent berthouds. mike viqueira has more. >> reporter: john brennan has been hit by outrage and calls for accountability. today he took a rare and dramatic step. a press conference at cia headquarters. he wanted to answer the critics and shore up moral at a agency under siege. yes, some interrogations at times went too far. >> i consider them abhorrent and i will leave to others how they might want to label those activities, but for me it was something that is certainly regrettable. >> reporter: but he disputes a
major finding of the senate report, that the information obtained from some of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques yielded no actionable information. >> there was very useful valuable intelligence that was obtained from individuals who had been subjected to eit's. >> reporter: but would have interrogators learned the same information if prisoner's weren't subject to the same methods. >> there is no way if -- to know whether or not some information that was obtained from an individual who had been subjected at some point during his confinement could have been obtained through other means. it's just -- it's a noble fact. >> reporter: his remarks come as he and the cia are hit by harsh criticism. mark udall on the senate floor wednesday. >> director brennan and the cia
today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information, and misrepresent the efficacy of torture, in other words the cia is lying. thursday the president brushed off questions. just before the speech the white house praised brennan's record of service. it makes him someone who has the full confidence of the president of the united states. >> reporter: part of brennan's goal buck up moral. >> cia officers are operating in some very, very dangerous places on behalf of their fellow americans. so there is some concern and disappointment about what has happened >> reporter: he was clearly uncomfortable with all of the scrutiny. >> i think there is more than
enough transparency that has happened in the last couple of days. i think it is over the top. >> reporter: and throughout his speech, it was really interesting, david, diane feinstein, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee who unveiled this report on tuesday afternoon was tweeting john brennan offering a running technique of what he was saying. afterwards she put out a statement that was largely conciliatory, but she is still taking question of whether it is unknowable of what these techniqued yielded. >> there also seems to be a distinction between feinstein's report saying hey, the most valuable information came before there was enhanced interrogation techniques, and brennan said there was some information that came afterwards. that daylight between them, is that enough to keep this going,
or do people say this is a disagreement, and we're going to have to leave it there. >> reporter: there is a lot of outrage. certainly it's the white house's goal to let the clock run out on this thing, and let people move on to the next controversy. the president doesn't want to talk about this, itself unlikely we're going to hear from him any time soon. but on whether or not the intelligence was useful gleaned from these techniques, he walked right up to it, did john brennan, he used the word subsequent to the harsh interrogation techniques there was information that was useful, particularly in hunting down osama bin laden. so walking a very fine today was john brennan no question about it. >> you remain so plugged in to capitol hill, you don't think there is going to be a
government shutdown, explain why. >> reporter: yeah, nobody wants that, not even the hardest of the hard core. they are talking about a stopgap measure to take them into next year when the republicans are running the house of representatives, the burden is not just on democrats to put this bill over the top. they wouldn't need democrats if they had a significant majority of republicans to go along with this. there is a revolt on the right. they don't like that it leaves obamacare alone, and leaves the executive orders largely alone. what we're seeing is welcome to a lame duck presidency. you have president obama on the phone trying to get the rank and file to change their mind with voting for this. last thing we heard he was cooling his heels outside of a closed door democratic meeting
about what they dislike about the way they have been treated by the white house. it's an indication of how difficult it will be to get anything done over the next two years. david? >> mike viqueira at the white house. thanks as always we appreciate it. weer want to continue the conversation about all of the money. the interrogation program at the cia, there is a piece titled what u.s. taxpayers paid to build and run the torture program. we started by asking for the figure? >> we can't know is the crazy part. we know at least $380 million. but definitely more. throughout this report you see a
dollar sign, a reduction sign, and then millions of dollars. >> and some of that money went to entice some governments and local officials to allow a black site to be built. >> absolutely, you see a continuing problem where the u.s. built more of these black sites than they could use. there were two countries where the built the prisons, and then the countries shut it down. there were other countries that were getting cold feet. so they had to come up with a way to pay these countries off to have these black sites. >> when they were shut down, that in and of itself comes with a cost, correct? >> yeah, absolutely. they talk about two sites that were completely built and never used because they couldn't get the permission from the country. we went to some country, built a prison, and then left it there. >> what were some of the enticements and what stood out in terms of the creativity that
the cia had in terms of trying to get these governances to agreeing to something that maybe they felt squeamish about. >> we know they were being creative, but we don't know exactly what they were doing. there is an exchange where a agent is told to get creative. we do know that the cia approved the list and added on even more and sent it back, and that allowed the black site to keep operating. >> somebody in the program said they had more money than they thought they could possibly spending. >> it's incredible, you see these agents talking about how they didn't even bother counting it. these are suitcases full of $100 bills. and it's all part of the black
budget. and it probably went to some very bad people. >> it also goes to paying off officials to stay quiet and not talk about it. is there any indication of how much was involved in that part to keep people from talk about this >> we don't know for sure. when we're talking about the country governments, they never say for sure, except it's in the millions of dollars. when we're talking about the 22% of people who were wrongfully detained, tortured, and released with hush money, we don't know. there was a german citizen who was taken by the u.s., tortured and then let go with about $17,000 and the clothes on his back. >> you have been reporting on this story for quite sometime. what jumped out to you about the numbers and also what was in the senate intelligence report? >> the senate intelligence report maybe unfortunate did not bring us a lot of things that we didn't already know.
but it did give us a graphic picture of how widespread it was. it turns out there were more prisoners, more water boarding, and enhanced interrogation techniques that were used. it's more a focus -- and this report, what is new about it is how intense the cia was about claiming that the torture techniques were effective. that they launched public relations campaigns after the killing of osama bin laden, and in congressional testimony, and in briefings to the white house where they said this is working, where it seems from the senate report that it didn't result in actual intelligence. >> so all along, they think $380 million, whatever the figure is that congress has told about, well, it's for a good purpose. now we found out that there's a view that it didn't really produce any actionable
intelligence, and the money was a lot more, and intenth -- spent on a lot more places than we thought. >> absolutely. when you look at the cia's own files, it really underscores the tragedy and the mess that has been made since 9/11. >> when the new cold war began, russia probably wasn't counting on the plunging price of oil. vladimir putin is making new friends. we'll reveal who he is talking to in just a few minutes. ♪
since july 2009 oil fell down 44% from the peak in june. the global plunge in oil prices is bad news for countries like russia that depend on oil revenues for a huge part of their economic output, at in western sanctions, the country is on the brink of recession. the ruble continues to fall. russian president vladimir putin is trying to forge stronger ties with asia. they struck deals with both china and turkey, and today met with the indian prime minister in new delhi. >> reporter: reaching out to old friends at a time of need, facing increasing pressure from the west because of the ongoing crisis in ukraine, the timing of this meeting when russian president vladimir putin, and indian prime minister in new delhi is significant. and the message from moscow is
clear, we still have friends we can rely on. >> translator: our bilateral relations have been elevated to the level of specially privileged strategic partnership and continue to develop dynamically. >> reporter: this is the is 11th summit that putin has at techeded here. this trip comes after that of the chinese president, and before a visit by u.s. president barack obama in january. >> international relations is changing. however, the importance of this relationship and this unique place in india's foreign policy will not change. >> reporter: moscow's focus appears to be helping new delhi meet its growing energy needs.
they announced they will build ten nuclear reactors with russia's help. the indian authorities say power production has already increased by a fifth. new delhi and moscow have agreed to work more closely across a whole host of sectors, and for the prime these deals are about leveraging what india does best. that includes cutting and polishing die amongeds. india processes more than half of the world's supply of the precious gem. but they have been forced to buy most of their diamonds from antwerp. >> our partners, indian manufactures, they built up very modern polishing complexes, the best in the world, so our bilateral partnership, it is
natural. we have the biggest producer and the biggest polisher. . >> reporter: russia has been one of india's biggest military suppliers. the prime minister confirmed this is unlikely to change. >> a relationship with india is always one where india doesn't try to be hedge monic. so far. it is possibly one of the fastest growing economies in the future due to democracy. >> reporter: when it comes to securing their respective futures, they seem to be in sync. coming up a new look at an old battle, economics versus the environment. this time it's in the rain forests of peru. we will take you to the amazon for look at efforts to protect tribal lands from industrial
♪ a super typhoon hit the philippines earlier this week, causing dozens of deaths, and driving millions of people from their homes. at the same time officials arrived at the summit on climate change in lima, peru begging for help in stopping climate change. efforts to increase protections for the world's forests have largely failed so far at the summit. and as nick clark reports there is now fear that abuse of tribal lands in peru will continue without any proper safeguards. >> reporter: for thousands of years here life has revolved around a vast network of waterways and rivers. it is a rich heritage of the people who have a complete
affinity for the environment they live in. take to the air, and you'll see the river and the dense canopy of forest, then you'll see the wholesale plundering of an ecosystem. forest lands are being exploited in every direction. legal logging companies are man it lating agreements with triber leaders, and illegal logging companies are operating with impunity, and the effects are plain to see. here huge swathes of forests have made way for a palm oil plantation. and this was once a remote amazon village, today connected to a road by the outside world. a road built six years ago when a logging company was granted access to their land. now there are streetlights and a
school. health care, and a sewage system. but also is not as well as it seems, illegal loggers have been using the road to plunder the lands. >> translator: people are invading our forest and turning it into fields for pasture and illicit crops. it's a real problem for our community. >> reporter: the destruction is plane to see, the title rights ignored with devastating effect. it's in the heart of their territory. maze now stands where once primary rain forests stood. javier doesn't know who is responsible. not so many years ago, these people were hunter gathers, deforestation has changed all of that. >> translator: all of the animals have gone, the loggers come in and destroy the forest,
the animals run far away. we can't hunt like we used to. >> reporter: no doubt they have benefited from the logging road, but the benefits have come at a price to their forest and their way of live. nick clark, al jazeera, peru. u.s. secretary of state john kerry arrived at the climate change conference in lima today, and while u.s. officials do not expect him to take an active role in negotiations, he did make a speech calling climate change one of the major security issues of our time. >> this is not just another policy issue. measured against the array of global threats we face today, and there are many, terrorism, epidemics. climate change ranks up there equal with all of them. >> and our next guest says
reaching a climate change agreement could help transform our entire global economy. he serves as special advisor to united nations ban ki-moon. he is just back from attending the talks in lima and joins us from new york. a climate deal 22 years in the making, are you confident that a deal may be close at hand. >> not at lima. lima is a very important stepping-stone to the target of an agreement in paris next year. so what is being negotiated in lima is a draft text. there is lots of work to do between that draft text and a final agreement, which is aiming to be reached in december 2015 in paris. what are the chances? the chances are okay, but far
from certain. there most likely will be an agreement in paris next year. the question is it a good agreement, a real agreement that is going to change the direction of -- of the world and keep us safe. >> and again, clarify what a real safe agreement would do. >> the governments of the world actually did that reasonably well several years ago when they said that the goal is to stop warming below the 2 degree cell see us increase. the earth has warmed almost 1 degree celsius, and the goal or commitment is to keep it from raising more than 2 degrees celsius.
next year the question will be does the agreement that is reached in paris keep us safe in the sense of preventing -- or likely preventing the warming above that very dangerous threshold. in order to stay safe, we have to have a dramatic transformation of the world's energy system, away from the coal, oil, and gas, and towards renewable, low-carbon energies, and other kinds of energy sources that can be much safer and not warm the planet. >> given the threshold that you have identified and that the world has agreed upon, how significant to these talks and also the coming discussions in paris have been the agreements between the united states and china this year? >> that agreement reached recently is significant because the two major emitting countries -- now china is by far number one. china is emitting twice the
greenhouse gases as does the united states. the two big emitting countries have said they will both sign an agreement in paris next year. what was announced was notable, but i think we're going to have to do even better than what was announced in the sense of defining more clearly the path to deep decarbonization. in the jargon that means to get out of the fossil fuels, and get into the safe kinds of energy sources. we need not only commitments up to the year 2025 or 2030, but we need a path throughout the century so that towards the end of the century we are what is called net zero emission. down to zero carbon dioxide emissions through a dramatic transformation of our energy system globely. it's feasible, it goes up against powerful vested
interests, especially big oil and big coal, but it's necessary for our safety globally. >> jeffery sachs, thanks for coming on. >> pleasure. good to be with you. thank you. here is something else that needs global attention, drug resistant superbugs. they could kill an extra 10 million people a year by 2050 if not stopped. the potential cogs by that time could be a staggering $100 trillion. already stronger versions of the ecoly bacteria kills some 50,000 in europe and the united states every year. jake ward explains. bacteria are becoming resist tanth to the drugs we used to kill them. in the united states alone, at least 2 million people a year become infected with bacteria that are resist important to
antibiotics, and at least 23 people die a year. there are many factors that contribute to the problem. the group in london is gathered to address one of those factors. the fact that drug makers aren't making new antibiotics. this group is hoping to somehow convince world leaders to better incentivize that business to create the drugs that we need. but there are a host of other fact factors. they are becoming less effective because as they are used in greater numbers of people and animals, they are getting a better opportunity to develop resistance to those drugs. the more the bacteria has a chance to practice against the drugs, the better they get at resisting their effects. and there are two big reasons.
for one thing there is a basic misunderstanding of the role of antibiotics. there are two types of infections viral and bacterial. antibiotics do not kill viruses. but 49% of europeans across the e.u. believed that antibiotic drugs kill viruses. and researches show that doctor prescribe anti-bacterial drugs for viruses too. that gives the bacteria a chance to adapt. and antibiotics are being given in a blanket way to huge numbers of farm animals to help keep them healthy. we're talking millions of animals dosed not as individuals, but in large groups through their feed and water. that also gives the bacteria a shot at developing resistance on massive scale. what we're looking at is a crisis of management.
one in which we're using drugs too much. and sometimes the wrong drugs entirely. it's not just going to be a matter of business incentives or livestock regulations or limiting prescriptions all of it will be necessary to keep us from growing a bug that we do not have the means to fight. just ahead the stock market is soaring, gas prices are falling, and all of this in time for the holiday shopping season. is an economic recovery off and running? just in time for washington's dysfunction to trip it up? we're back with answers in just two minutes. ♪
what a difference a day makes, unlike yesterday, the dow jones was up. today they closed at 17,596. it is still below the recent record high which was reached just days ago. but today's uptick could be an early signal that the recent adjust downward was just that. and that the largest bull market in history is still going strong. back on march 6th, 2009, the dow bottomed out. we have come a long way since then, and the good news from the markets is coupled be additional good news from the commerce
market. retailers saw a brisk increase in their november sales novembers. couple that with gasoline prices dropping an average of $0.67 per gallon since the start of the year, and you might, just might have the makings of an economic recovery, meaning that black friday's doom and gloom was less a signal that the economy is faltering, and more a sign that consumers are spending more in the months leading up to christmas. this holiday shopping center is looking brighter than last. we are joined by christof put l putzel -- chris christopher from boston. >> the poorest showing on black friday sales is understandable. the november retail sales are very good. and we can get into why black friday wasn't so good.
>> let's get into that. why wasn't it very good in because more people are shopping online or shopping on thanksgiving day? >> those two factors and price discounting started early in november, so many people got their shopping out of the way in the front of the month. here we track payrolls, and there were about 10 million less people getting paid on black friday, and about 13 more people getting paid of december 1st, so a lot of that extra boost is being pushed into december. so december looks quite bright. >> and how much are cheaper gas prices driving consumers in all of this? >> it's very important, lower pump prices help consumer confidence. it also gives lower-income households a little extra spending power, and they will spending it, especially since there are so many americans living paycheck to paycheck.
>> we started the show with the ongoing dysfunction in washington. how much of the uncertainty in washington weighs on consumers and the markets, or have people already factored that in? >> people have factored it in, the political bickering is nowhere comparable to what we had in october of 2013, when the government shutdown. in october 2013, that sent consumer confidence south right before the holiday season, so hopefully this will end up with a continuing resolution and things will get resolved later on. however, it's not in our forecast that there will be a major political disruption. >> if they come back in january, and they can't go through the agenda the way they wanted, does that begin to shake the
confidence, or is that just something people are preparing for? >> i think people are used to it, but we just don't feel it will have a great impact on consumer confidence or the economy as a whole. >> when americans are still asked will your children's lives be better than yours, a record number of people are saying no, they won't? how does this doom and gloom play out? >> well, it's sort of true that the younger generation is not going to do as well as the older generation in the united states. in the emerging markets that's probably the opposite case. however, the younger-age cohorts have high student loan debt. gauge growth isn't that great, and a lot of them can't afford to buy a house, et cetera, so
it's not looking too good for them, but things are getting better, month by month, quarter by quarter. and things will look up in this a year or two from now for them. >> you certainly seem like an optimist for everybody else. you are feeling pretty good about the year ahead, right? >> yeah, the year ahead looks good for the consumer and the american economy as well. the u.s. economy is looking much better than many of our european partners, in addition to many of the emerging markets. >> chris christopher at ihs global incite, thanks for joining us. and happy holidays to you. >> thank you. t is the season to shop for your family christmas tree this year. we'll tell you why free farmers are seeing green this year. you are watching "real money." ♪
♪ this holiday season christmas tree farmers are seeing green. sales are up. during the height of the recession, tree sales growth slowed down, but this year is on track to be a record breaker. the average shopper spent a little more than $35 on a tree last year, but as duarte geraldino reports, stronger sales this year, mean higher prices for buyers. >> reporter: andrew coal owns a four-acre farm in new jersey where people cut down and buy christmas trees. he is a small player in a billion dollars industry. >> this looks like the charlie brown snoopy tree.
how long will this guy take? >> from now, approximately six years. >> reporter: that means the trees sold today were planted at the start of the great recession, which did a number on the industry. as home foreclosures increased, and fewer young people moved out of their parent's houses, national demand for trees slowed. >> if you added up all of the time, material, and effort you had in it, you probably would don't it. you are doing it because you love to do it. >> reporter: in the last decade, total harvests fell by nearly 3.5 million, and 1 in ten christmas tree farms went out of business. survivors were either very large, or really resourceful like andrew. >> we do landscape maintenance for a living. most tree farmers are either retired, and/or have a full-time job and doing their tree farm.
>> reporter: but this is shaping up to be a very good season for andrew and the entire industry. he is on track to sell all 400 of his christmas trees. donna cole runs new jersey's christmas tree grower's association. >> tree sales in general for new jersey and probably the nation are rebounding somewhat. >> 2013 tree sales already exceeded recession levels. this year americans are expected to buy more than 33 million trees. so let's talk price. all of the trees at this farm, the big ones, the little ones, $50. >> so it is somewhat related to the cost, but it's basically what the market, you know, will bare. >> reporter: when it comes to christmas trees, the american northwest and the state of north carolina are the most productivity. three out of five tree come from
these areas. the pacific north christmas tree association tells al jazeera growers are earning about $20 on every sale. that's about two to $3 more than they did last year. and by the time these frees take it to retailers, nurseries, and street corners, you could be paying anywhere from $35, to well over $100. >> they are very expensive in california. >> reporter: industry experts say tree producers are quickly adapting to evolving consumer tastes. for example, because of the surge of urban households and smaller livering spaces, tiny trees, and all sorts of wreaths are hot this year. that means if there are any inregular trees, andrew can cut them up and make four or five wreaths and sell them for $20
apiece. demand is also rising for american-grown christmas trees. u.s. farmers routinely ship trees to china, japan, and mexico. finally, i have some friends in washington, d.c. who like to sit next to their christmas tree this time of year and smoke marijuana. they are among the 70% of d.c. voters who supported a referendum legalizing weed. republicans, however, were opposed. and the spending deal unveiled this week would block taxpayer money from being able to implement its will. this is because it is not a state. the disregard for the residents of our nation's capitol is
particularly shameful when you consider the census data. it has a greater population than two states, a larger gross domestic product than 27 states, and more federal tax money going to the government than 29 states. yet there is taxation without rep sentation. how can americans urge other nations to embrace democracy and a representative government when we keep it from 650,000 of our own citizens? the lingering treatment of the residents of washington, d.c. is a national shame. if congress is truly concerned about impaired judge inspect our nation's capitol, lawmakers should start looking at themselves. marijuana is not the problem. the problem is the ongoing sub ja gags of the district of columbia. enough already. enough. that is our show today. i'm david shuster, on behalf of